I've been rereading books lately (including The Geography of Nowhere, reviewed here) and reading magazines, but here are two books I read with my kids in the past month. The Giver by Lois Lowry My seventh-grade son Nicholas read this book in school and then, coincidentally, was given a copy by his sixth-grade cousin who'd … Continue reading The Giver and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [book reviews]
It's been several months since I've posted book reviews. Here's what I've been reading.... Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal This novel has an extremely interesting structure, on which is hung a story that doesn't need to be told this way, if it needs to be told at all. Each chapter is … Continue reading Time Travel, Story Structure, and Unconvincing Women [book reviews]
My brother got me two books about cities for my birthday--one fiction and one nonfiction, both great books with great covers! Here they are, along with reviews of the other books I've read recently. Walkable City by Jeff Speck I love living in a walkable urban neighborhood! This book by a city planner told me a … Continue reading Walkable City, Visible City, and 4 more book reviews
Last night, Daniel and I were talking about what might happen with Africa in this century. It's an interesting question, considering that Africa has an unusually young population, many unstable governments, metals that are hard to find anywhere else on Earth, significant presence of both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, and very uneven distribution of resources. All kinds … Continue reading Compost Blanketing the Sahara
Here's a sprightly introduction to my reviews of the books I've read in the past month. The God We Never Knew by Marcus Borg Marcus Borg is a theologian and Biblical scholar who admits that he got well into his adult life and graduate studies before he realized that his understanding of God was warped by … Continue reading 5 Book Reviews
I started a new job three weeks ago, so I've been rereading familiar books as a backdrop to all the new ideas! However, right before going back to work, I read a book published in 1999 that was new to me. Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger John is a teenager in the era of zines--that … Continue reading Book Reviews: Old and New
I thought it was time to reread Peyton Place because I hadn't read it in years--I couldn't remember how long. But I found that I remembered it too well to thoroughly enjoy it again, and that's why I decided to give away this book, which I read 3 or 4 times years ago. This is … Continue reading 6 book reviews and Peyton Place GIVEAWAY!!!
Matrix logic or logic grid puzzles challenge you to figure out the characteristics of several people, using a series of clues, marking "yes" answers with an O and "no" answers with an X in a grid of boxes. You can see an example grid in this Wikipedia article. My 12-year-old Nicholas enjoys matrix logic almost … Continue reading Matrix Logic: The New Baby’s Relatives
My son Nicholas is 12 years old and often tells us about meals and snacks he enjoyed in his friends' homes. Last month, when we were shopping at Target, he pointed out a package of sauce that was the exact type his friend's mother had used on the delicious fajitas. I told him I wasn't … Continue reading How to make it from scratch instead of a package: Chipotle Simmer Sauce
Imagine my surprise when one of the paperback mysteries I'd picked up at a used-book sale turned out to reference one of the others! In Harm Done, which I reviewed last month, a girl claims she was kidnapped by two women who forced her to do housework, and an irritated Inspector Wexford demands to know … Continue reading Book Reviews: Good, Bad, and Coincidental
I worked with crime data for 17 years, and occasionally someone would say, "Gosh, that must make you so worried about your safety!" No. It didn't. It had exactly the opposite effect. There are four patterns I saw, over and over again, that made me feel safer: Crime rates in Pittsburgh and in the United … Continue reading America is SAFER now than it used to be.
This month I read two books that were new to me and two I'd read before but didn't remember well. 36 Children by Herbert Kohl Mr. Kohl was a white, Jewish graduate of Harvard and Columbia who agreed to teach sixth grade in a public school in Harlem in 1962. The school was only 29 … Continue reading Some Old and Some New: September Book Reviews
I've been catching up on my magazines this month, but I've also read three books... The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Charlie is a friendless teenager beginning his freshman year at a high school in the affluent southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. The book is a series of "Dear friend," letters he's writing … Continue reading Wallflowers and Oranges Unbound! (book reviews)
Having finished all the books I got for Christmas, I acquired a bunch more for my birthday! Not only did I receive some books as gifts, but I found lots of low-priced books at the Regent Square Yard Sale, I bought a few books at Balticon, and after reading one of the titles below I … Continue reading What I’ve Been Reading Lately
I've explained how we buy many of our groceries from bulk bins in the food co-op store, dispensing the amount we want to buy into containers we got by buying (and using) foods that came in them. Usually, when a jar has a label that can be removed, we soak it off so that … Continue reading Bulk Food in Reused Containers in the Microwave: A Cautionary Tale
Our two-year-old Lydia loves poetry! Most young children enjoy hearing rhyming, rhythmic words, but Lydia is particularly fascinated. We have many picture books with rhyming text--like the wonderful works of Dr. Seuss--but we've also found several longer poetry books that she enjoys and so do we. Poetry is very helpful in getting children interested in … Continue reading 4 Great Poetry Books for Young Children
When our son Nicholas was 2 years old, we drove from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma, stayed a while, and drove back. In each direction, we spent 3 days in a row on the road for about 8 hours a day of actual driving time, plus rest stops. My cousin who has older children gave me two … Continue reading Secrets to a Happy Road Trip with a Two-year-old
In addition to finishing the books I got for Christmas in time for my birthday, I've read a few other new-to-me books recently, including one that actually has the alternate title What I've Learned By Reading Too Much! I learned something from each of these books. The Dance of Anger by Harriet G. Lerner This … Continue reading What I’ve Learned By Reading Too Much (and 4 other books!)
Eleven days ago, I launched a challenge to my readers to prevent food waste in some way, big or small, and report back after Easter. Now it's the Tuesday after Easter, and I haven't heard from anyone yet. Did you accept my challenge? Tell me about it in the comments, or link to your own … Continue reading Did you find Jesus anything to eat?
According to the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus was resurrected from the dead and appeared to his disciples, he said, "Have you anything here to eat?" He must have been really hungry after being dead for three days! In that spirit, as Easter approaches, I'm challenging all of you--Christians and everybody else--to do what you … Continue reading Have you anything to eat? a food-waste prevention challenge!